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Christian Science Center

Boston  Map
1964–70
Lead Designer
Araldo A. Cossutta

This sprawling urban complex is part of a three-phase master plan to provide the world headquarters of the Christian Science Church with a more open and welcoming environment while simultaneously regenerating the surrounding community.

To match the limestone of the existing Mother Church, each component of the expansion program—including the 28-story administration building, three-story Sunday school, and five-story colonnade building—was cast in precision-formed architectural concrete. All visible elements such as walls, columns, and beams are structurally and mechanically integrated within a cohesive but flexible whole. A 670-foot-long reflecting pool along the eastern axis of the site binds these componenets together, creating a place of tranquility and contemplation.

The Mother Church was enhanced with a new stone portico in 1979, improving access and creating a more sympathetic relationship with historic Horticultural Hall and Symphony Hall.

Show Facts
Site

18.4 acres organized along Huntington Avenue in Boston's historic Back Bay district

Components

694,000 ft2 / 64,000 m2 gross area; Sunday school with auditorium; Church Administration Building; Church Colonnade Building with offices, public reading room, exhibition space, employee cafeteria and lounges, television and radio studio; below-grade parking; landscaped open spaces with reflecting pool and fountain; semi-circular Church portico

Client

First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston

PCF&P Services

Master planning, architecture, exterior envelope, interior design of public spaces

Awards

Harleston Parker Award
Boston Society of Architects, 1975

Annual Tucker Award (New Portico)
Building Stone Institute, 1980

Design Award
Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, 1975

Prestressed Concrete Institute Award
Prestressed Concrete Institute, 1973

Christian Science Center is a work of repose that attempts to resolve structure, form, and space through the unifying element of architecture.

Site plan

Project Credits

Structural: Weiskopf & Pickworth, New York; Mechanical / Electrical: Syska & Hennessy, New York; Planning: Vincent Ponte, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Landscape: Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay Associates, Watertown MA; Traffic: Travers Associates, Clifton, NJ; Images: Yukio Futagawa, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Publishing Society Christian Science, Gorchev & Gorchev, Norman McGrath